Lifelong Bonds At Summer Camp For Families Battling Childhood Cancer

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-11 19:52:23-04

HOLLAND, Mich. (June 11, 2014) — A summer camp this week in Holland that comes with a bonding experience unlike any other, for families of children battling childhood cancer.

It’s a week for families to get away from the hospital visits and meet others going through similar struggles, walking away with a group of lifelong friends that understand their journey the best.

This is the second year for Starlite Shores Family Camp, it’s held at Camp Geneva in Holland. It was started by Carmen and Kevin Diekevers. They went to volunteer as a family for a similar camp in Florida back in 2012. They say they were so touched by the experience they knew they needed to bring it to West Michigan.

The Englesma family from Hudsonville and the Aho family from South Carolina just met days ago, but you would never know by the bond already created. Jill Aho says the camaraderie that happens is incredible. “Instantly we watch them running around. Whether they’re bald or not it doesn’t matter. We’re all in it together,” she said.

Entire families come to the camp, the children battling cancer and the siblings and parents there to support them, all of them fighting the battle together.

“To give these families a week just to be relaxed and restored and renewed as a family. They don’t get a lot of time to spend together being in and out of hospitals and bring normalcy to their life for a week,” said Carmen Diekevers.

Jordan Engelsma says while other family and friends care and are there to talk to, they don’t understand like those going through it. This gives parents and kids a chance to talk about their struggles in a completely different way.

Building relationships that will last a lifetime, “I think we will benefit from it forever,” said Engelsma.

There are several different events planned throughout the week for families and children and everything is free for them thanks to the support from donors, the community and volunteers that help the retreat families.

There is another camp scheduled for August and they’re looking for more volunteers, for more information: